My granddaughter Stella
loves to play with blocks. We work together to build tall houses and towers.
Sometimes we don’t have the blocks lined up properly on the base and they
crumble. So we start over and try to set a firm foundation before we add the
blocks on top of each other.
Some of us are
like the blocks. When we don’t get properly lined up with the base, our faith
in Christ, we begin to crumble.
Stella also loves
playing with Legos. When we build a house with Legos, we are careful to fit the
pieces together perfectly. We want them to connect evenly and create snug fit.
When we line up the Lego pieces carefully attaching one to another, we can
really build a very steady house.
Some of us are
like that with Christ. We have a snug fit. We align ourselves really well to
the first piece, the base piece, the cornerstone.
What is the role of
a cornerstone for a building?
thefoundation stone, is the first stone set in the construction of
a foundation. This is important since all other stones will be set in reference to this
stone. This stone determines the position of the entire structure. If the cornerstone is defective in anyway, if
the line is off by a tiny angle, the whole building will be wrong.
Together, we are his house, built on the
foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ
Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple
for the Lord. Ephesians
2:20 & 21
What does this
mean to us if Christ is the cornerstone? EVERYTHING flows from the cornerstone.
He is the beginning. He is our reference point. He determines our position. Verse 21 says we are carefully joined together
in him. We are fitted together with him and we form a holy temple as we fit
together with Christ.
Paul wanted to
encourage the church at Ephesus to be one in Christ and to look to him as their
foundation, their leader. There were issues, factions, and differences among
the members in the Early Church that could tear them apart. Paul is reminding
them to come together at the cornerstone. When we are fit together with the
cornerstone, we turn to God with our issues and our differences.
Where is your fit
to the cornerstone? When we are snug against the cornerstone, our thoughts
become his thoughts, our emotions become his emotions, our words become his
words, and our actions become his actions. We live in our strengths and in our
purpose. We seek to be like him. We become one with Christ.
disconnected we are to the cornerstone, the more our world is wobbly. When we
aren’t snugged up to the cornerstone, we have a harder time living in our strengths.
Remember the story
Jesus told about the wise man building his house upon the rock. It
endured the storms of life. What happened to the foolish man who built on
a foundation of sand? His house crumbled.
Our goal is to
attach ourselves firmly to the cornerstone so that we can endure the storms of
Hillsong Church song
“Cornerstone” reminds us that Christ alone is our cornerstone and we are made
strong in his love.
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour's love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
Let’s fit snuggly to the cornerstone and get strong in Him!
Ephesians 1: 16-19 we see the apostle Paul offers a prayer for the Ephesians.
I pray for you constantly,17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your
knowledge of God.18 I pray that your
hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope
he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s
power for us who believe him.
first praises their strong faith and their love for God’s people everywhere.
Then he prays for their spiritual wisdom and insight so that they might grow in
their knowledge of God. Next he prays for their hearts to be flooded with light
so that they could understand the confident hope that God has given them.
Finally he prays that they would know God’s great power. Paul reminds the
Ephesians that the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead was
available to them.
God’s power was available to the Ephesians, isn’t it available to us today? Of
course, it is. We don’t always call on his mighty power to help us to overcome
our life challenges. The God that Paul describes is the same God we worship
today. He is far above “any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything
else.” God can do powerful things through us. Why don’t we ask him to help us
do the hard things? Why don’t we consistently invoke his power when we need to
make tough choices?
his prayer Paul prays for the Ephesiansto know God better. Paul
knew that if the these believers got to know God better, they would grow, have
more hope and would trust God’s power in their lives. Perhaps if we know God
better we will trust him with both our little and big issues. How do we get to
know people better? We spend time with them. We talk to them. We read about
them. We can know God better by doing these same things.
Paul’s prayer of
blessing for the Ephesians serves as an inspiration for us. What an honor it
would be for someone to pray for me to have spiritual insight, to be flooded
with God’s light, and to understand the greatness of God’s power.
I recently asked
one of my Bible study classes to use this to pray for each other. Each woman
prayed for another woman for a week. I revised the prayer to make it personal. The
results were heartwarming. Women felt honored and blessed to be prayed for, but
the women all agreed that the greatest blessing was found in praying for a
sister in Christ, lifting her up and believing that God was doing a great work
in that sister’s life.
this prayer over those in your life who could use some encouragement.
·I pray for you constantly,asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give
you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of
·I pray that your heart will
be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has
given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious
·I also pray that you will
understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.
2nd Highest Card Sending
greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion Valentine's
are sent annually world-wide, making it the second highest card sending
holiday, behind Christmas.
Meaning of the Word Valentine. The name Valentine comes from
the Latin word valor, meaning worthy.
Name for Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day was named for
two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine who were associated with
romantic love in the middle ages.
Official Holiday. St. Valentine's Day was
declared an official holiday in 1537 when England's King Henry VIII
declared it for the first time.
Unmarried Valentine's. In the Middle Ages, people
believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex that they met
on the morning of Valentine's Day was the person they were destined to
Valentine Celtic Wooden Spoons.
The ancient Celtic tradition of
giving hand carved wooden love spoons as Valentine's gifts began in Wales.
Often, hearts, keys, and keyholes, symbolizing that the receiver unlocked
the giver's heart, were carved as decoration on the spoon.
Valentine Love Messages. Elaborate handmade love
messages, cards and gifts for Valentine's Day became popular during the
Women Card Buyers. The greeting card association
estimates that 85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women.
I love Valentine's Day and enjoy telling my loved ones how much they mean to me. Our family celebrates this holiday on the Sunday before Valentine's Day each year. We call it a "Love Feast." We exchange cards or small tokens of love and enjoy a delicious meal at the dining room table that's all decorated in red and white.
The greatest love we all have is from the creator of love, our Heavenly Father. God IS love. He gave us the best symbol of love when he sent his son to earth to live as a man and then die for our eternal salvation. Jesus' entire ministry on earth was devoted to acts of love and his greatest desire for us is to love Him and to love each other. Someone cleverly created this special Valentine message.
On January 18-25, 2014 a team of Christ UMC educators joined a team
from Ringgold UMC to participate in a mission trip to Leon, Nicaragua. Our
education team united with a medical team and construction team for a total of
32 from 9 different United Methodist churches throughout Georgia and Tennessee.
We arrived Saturday afternoon at our home base, El Ayudante,
a Christian humanitarian organization based in León, Nicaragua. This center is
dedicated to partnering with the Nicaraguan people to transform the nation—one
child, one family, and one community at a time. El Ayudante means “the helper”
and the organization works with 25 to 35 short-term missions teams each year
from the states to work with local community leaders to help bring tangible
change to people’s lives in the areas of education, medicine, construction, and
training. Teams are provided with an itinerary, meals, translators, and
Our “home away from home” was a beautiful, tranquil setting
where we could sleep, eat, refresh, and re-energize each day before we set out
to minister to the Nicaraguan people.
On our first full day we boarded our “Rambo” trucks and
headed out to the country through pot-holed dirt roads.
On our bumpy dusty
drive we encountered people on all sorts of transportation: people on
horseback, entire families on mopeds, a few trucks, lots of bicycles, and many
people walking. The distance from the highway to the churches - as the crow
flies – was only about 15 miles, yet it took us nearly two hours to wind down
the dusty path to arrive at our first destination: Salinas Grande Church.
This congregation met next to the pastor’s house, a
primitive structure with dirt floors, a few tables and chairs and no running
water or electricity. The “church” was a small homemade tent with folding
What these folks lacked in material things, they made up for
in spirit. They sang their Nica praise songs with all their heart, soul, and
mind. When word spread in the community that children were playing with a huge
colorful parachute, children came from everywhere eager to play and sing and
hear about Jesus. We received word later in the week that they have great hopes
for ministering to the families of the children who came to VBS that day. Their
need is for a US church to become a sister church and help them in their
efforts. Two of our team members plan to present that possibility to their
Our next stop was at Las Percelas, a sister church to
Ringgold UMC. Our drive took much longer than expected but this sweet
congregation waited patiently for us to arrive. Once again we shared the Gospel
and had a VBS for their children. It was wonderful to see the growth of the
church since the early days of the partnership with RUMC and gave hope for what
could come to the little church at Salinas Grande with a sister church coming
For the rest of the week our team divided into our specialty
teams: education, medical, and construction. Our medical team held workshops
and clinics, our construction team worked on a women’s prison, and our
education team held staff development for teachers and a conference for
students. Our CUMC team, Dr. Kim Nichols, Janet Phillips, and I, focused on
What a privilege to be able to speak of the Gospel, give
Bibles, and reference God in all of our presentations. Each of us was partnered
with a translator who was as eager and excited as we were about our work. The
Nicaraguan teachers were most gracious and appreciative of all of our help.
They are eager to learn ways to manage their classrooms and strategies to
engage their students. Forty percent of all Nicaraguan teachers do not have a
college degree. Many of them have 50 – 70 students in their room. Most of them
have no books or supplies. Yes, they are eager to learn effective ways to
teach! When I asked each group if they love teaching, they all responded with
an enthusiastic, “Si!”Even under
deplorable conditions, they love what they do! We saw the classrooms firsthand
and marveled how these teachers could accomplish much, yet they wanted to learn
as much as possible and eagerly embraced our suggestions.
Our week culminated in the 6th annual teachers’ conference
with 500 teachers in attendance. They came from all over the area and travelled
great distances for many hours to be a part of a unique opportunity. Our team
of 8 educators was joined by our medical team and Nicaraguan educators for a
total of 19 leaders – “profesores” - who
conducted 7 sessions over a two day period. The rest of our team worked as
support staff on registration, food, and a host of administrative areas. Church
donations allowed us to feed each teacher, give them classroom supplies, door
prizes, a Bible, and Gospel track. We were so fortunate that the Curriculum
Director for the Ministry of Education in Nicaragua attended our conference and
has asked us to offer this conference in additional locations in the country.
We are in prayer that God will guide us and make provisions if this is an
avenue where we can have an impact.
One of the highlights of the week came as we participated in
a prayer walk in Ruben Dario, a tenement just outside our El Ayudante gates. We
walked from shanty to shanty with our translators and asked the tenants if we
could pray with them. They shared their concerns and requests and we joined
hands in prayer. So many requests were for their sick children: one with a lazy-
eye, one with kidney problems, and one with stomach problems. Others requested
prayer about job concerns, their attempt to go to school, and their own
personal health issues. We did our best to help them make connections with
doctors and a local church and prayed that their hope would be placed in our
Our mission team theme for the week was Jeremiah 29:11:
I know the plansI have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God has the same plan for all of us where we live in wealthy
country like the USA or a third world poverty-ridden country like Nicaragua. He
wants to give us a hope and a future. I believe part of the plan he has for
those of us who have much is to share with those who have little. As we read in
John 15 Jesus commanded us to love each other.
command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater
love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You
are my friends if you do what I command.
did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed youso that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father
will give you.17 This is my command: Love
I look forward to “bearing more fruit” next
year in Nicaragua!